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A small group of families rallied today outside Mercy Hospital of Buffalo as part of a national campaign to encourage the use of evidence-based birthing practices.
Buffalo was one of 100 cities that hosted rallies on the Improving Birth organization's National Rally for Change, an event that promoted family-centered maternity care while objecting to what organizers deem unnecessary inductions and Caesarean sections.
A rally spokeswoman said about 25 families participated in the event in hopes raising public awareness about the importance of making informed decisions about maternity care and child birth.
"We want to get people thinking, questioning and recognizing that they do have choices," said Rachel Zeller, one of the original founders of the group BuffaloBirth Network. "A lot of people just take their doctors' word."
Zeller said there is evidence that the number of mothers in the region who undergo C-sections could be more than twice as large than medically necessary. The group's website refers to a study that indicates that inducing labor when it's not necessary increases the risk of Cesarean section delivery and other childbirth complications.
Following the morning rally, Catholic Health issued a statement saying staff at Mercy Hospital support evidence-based birthing practices but had nothing to do with the rally or the organization that sponsored the event.
The local rally is just one of a number of outreach efforts that are being launched to try to empower people to make medical choices that produce the "healthiest outcomes," Zeller said.